James 2:26

James 2:26  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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THE witnesses of faith and works here adduced are the most powerful that the O.T. affords; and from it this Epistle in God's wisdom cites them as the weightiest and most conclusive for the purpose. Those of Israel who had the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ were as responsible as all others to manifest righteousness practically. It was the more relevant to press the godly walk which becomes faith, because, being brought out of a system of letter, they needed to be especially cautioned against relapse into what they had left behind. If they lived in the Spirit, they should the more seek to walk in the Spirit. For so is the will of God that with well-doing we may put to silence the ignorance of senseless men, as well as guard against our own tendencies. But there was more still in the cases before us; for even where works are most insisted on as evidence and proof of divine reality, these works owe all their value to the faith which gave them being. Without faith they would have been detestable, instead of being as they are the most solid testimony to their faith in God at all cost.
“For as the body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (ver. 26).
In ver. 17 it was said that faith, if it have not works, is “dead by itself;” in ver. 20 faith without works is “barren;” here at the end of the discussion faith without works is pronounced absolutely “dead,” and so it surely is. Where the manifestation of living reality is sought, what can be more offensive than a dead body? Emphatically it is so under the gospel, where the Lord Himself declares that He who believes has life eternal. To lack holy vitality is fatal. It is not to have the Son of God, Who is the sole spring of all that glorifies God. For what else is the believer left here below but to walk and serve and suffer and worship, while waiting for the Lord? For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God before prepared that we should walk in them.
Even in writing to the Thessalonian saints, recently brought to God from heathenism, the apostle remembers without ceasing their work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope. With them the gospel was not in word only but also in power. The very world outside was telling the effect of the truth shown in their turning to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to await His Son from the heavens, Whom He raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath. Israelitish confessors yet more required to be warned against a lifeless formalism. And here this is fully given.